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2024 Annual Economic Development Breakfast

Mar 25, 2024


The Annual Economic Development Breakfast, hosted by The Water Tower (TWT) on February 29th, 2024, showcased the achievements TWT has accomplished alongside its partners and emphasized the transformative impact of becoming a part of The Water Tower’s ecosystem of innovation.

Attendees included economic development professionals from throughout the region, TWT board members, and leaders from the water industry, including key representatives from TWT partners. Several notable speakers delivered informative presentations during the event. Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson provided opening remarks, emphasizing the opportunities The Water Tower provides for both businesses and members of the community. During a research and development panel, Ryan Woods (Siemens), Michael Watts (Garver), and Andrew Hickey (Partnership Gwinnett) discussed their impactful experiences partnering with TWT on initiatives including research and development programs in the labs and control room.

Gwinnett County provides a unique environment for work and aligns well with TWT’s training opportunities for Georgia high school students and graduates, ultimately leading to a multitude of career paths in the water industry. Nick Masino, The Water Tower at Gwinnett Board Chair and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, focused on the challenges faced by the water industry and the innovative solutions being pursued at The Water Tower. Melissa Meeker, CEO of The Water Tower, emphasized the fundamental role of water in communities, stating that “no water means no community,” and highlighting the economic impact of water challenges. The Water Tower is a hub for resolving these challenges by providing critical resources, training, and cutting-edge research facilities all under one roof to benefit water utilities and companies throughout the southeast U.S. and beyond.

The Water Tower location adjacent to the F. Wayne Hill Resource Center provides manufactures and other companies unique access to real-world water quality flows for technology testing and R&D. The Water Tower also provides access to state-of-the-art laboratories for water quality testing and technology development, as well as industry and next-gen engagement through events such as Demo Day and the Student Water Innovation & Leadership Summit. In addition to on-campus facilities such as co-working office and office suites, The Water Tower campus includes three outparcel lots approximately 8 acres each designed for expanding the campus and bringing new water-related businesses to Gwinnett.

The Economic Development Breakfast provided valuable insights not just from a financial standpoint, but also highlighting the pivotal role The Water Tower plays in addressing water industry challenges and fostering economic growth and innovation in the community.

The Water Tower consists of two nonprofit organizations: The Water Tower at Gwinnett, a 501(c)4 – responsible for the development and operations of the campus, and The Water Tower Institute, a 501c3 – responsible for solutions, instruction, and engagement programming. Together, these entities are cultivating an ecosystem of water innovation fueled by imagination, informed by research, and powered by pioneers. The Water Tower brings together public and private sectors of the water industry, side by side with academia and nonprofits, to tackle the industry’s greatest challenges.


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